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Academy of St. Thomas review: Orchestra were on terrific form with much fine solo playing

PUBLISHED: 15:27 15 October 2019 | UPDATED: 15:27 15 October 2019

The Academy of St Thomas performing at St Andrews Hall. Picture: Chrissie Owens

The Academy of St Thomas performing at St Andrews Hall. Picture: Chrissie Owens

Chrissie Owens

Frank Cliff reviews the Academy of St. Thomas' performance at St Andrews Hall on October 12.

Soloist Piers Lane performing with The Academy of St Thomas at St Andrews Hall. Picture: Chrissie OwensSoloist Piers Lane performing with The Academy of St Thomas at St Andrews Hall. Picture: Chrissie Owens

A distinctive, if somewhat unusual programme, drew a full house for the Academy of St. Thomas's programme on Saturday October 12, who were rewarded with playing of the highest quality.

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No overture, but straight into Beethoven's first piano concerto, with the distinguished soloist, Piers Lane giving a sparkling account of the first movement, a beautifully poetic largo, and a fast, but never rushed, finale with sympathetic and taut accompaniment from conductor, Benjamin Pope.

One would not usually expect an encore after a Beethoven concerto, but then, this was no ordinary concert, and Lane rewarded the tremendous applause with a dazzling performance of Dudley Moore's idea of how Beethoven might have treated the Colonel Bogey march.

The second half consisted of a large chunk of the whole of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, deftly arranged into a satisfactory form by conductor, Benjamin Pope. Pope conducted superbly, with perfectly judged tempo which brought out all the music's warmth and drama, the orchestra on terrific form, with much fine solo playing.

After that, the applause said it all.

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